I think I went a little burger mad over the weekend. Maybe I’m iron deficient. Maybe it’s because I spend too much time eating at places with different sized forks and pinky-out décor. But once I got a taste of the smorgasbord of meat at the Fort Worth Food + Wine Festival’s Burgers, Brews + Blues on Saturday, I kind of went feral.
The meatgasm held at Heart of the Ranch at Clearfork (500 Clearkfork Main St, 817-999-9791) was the penultimate event of the four-day festival. There were 12 different burgers on offer, 22 craft beers, and live music all day and night.
The day after the meat orgy, I woke up in the middle of Forest Park wearing only a cow-skin toga and a necklace of pig snouts. Sometimes I go overboard.
First, I’d like to offer my congratulations to everyone involved in the event. The setting was breathtaking, the food ranged from amazing to good (I didn’t have one bad bite), there was beer everywhere, you couldn’t look in any one direction without seeing a volunteer, the flow of human traffic was smooth, and the lines were manageable –– despite the more than 1,000 people in attendance. Even the website and marketing materials were slicker and more easily navigable than in previous years.
Because of some prior obligations and a sick kiddo, Burger, Brews + Blues was the only event I was able to attend. A few other Weekly-ites on the business side had nothing but good things to say about the rest of the fest.
Since I’d lose street-cred, not to mention readers, if I didn’t have at least a couple of complaints, allow me to nitpick: For a beer event, there needs to be more than two bathrooms. The port-o-potties were admittedly nicer than the plastic hotboxes you see at most events, but I would have traded comfort for quickness. Secondly, if everyone is going to use Styrofoam plates and paper napkins for future events (and I wish they wouldn’t), it might be nice to have some more trash cans around. I’d also like to see some recycling, and maybe have a stage announcer to let the audience know who the bands are and when the voting stops. I didn’t get to vote on my favorite beer or burger because I lost track of time. A few places ran out of product, but that’s hardly the fault of the organizers.
If I had the whole experience to do over again, I would have started a little slower. Every chef was churning out sliders at the pace of a short-order turn-and-burn kitchen. It was too tempting not to dive in mouth-first and devour every morsel in sight. As a consequence of my poor planning, I didn’t get to try all of the burgers.
As soon as I walked into the festival, I was greeted by the Fred’s Texas Café tent and its green chorizo patty made with spinach and epazote. Had I voted, Fred’s would have definitely been a strong contender for No. 1, although I might have given the nod to Tributary Café’s Creole burger and its blackened, crunchy meatball patty drenched in a rich, elegant remoulade.
Rodeo Goat’s Bad Hombre won the judges’ award for best in show. The seven-ingredient goliath defied basic scientific principles by standing upright. I personally found the Goat’s slider gimmicky and cloying thanks to the heaped-on maple bacon and mango salsa. The people’s choice award went to Pearl Snap Kolaches, a simple burger of Angus beef and Colby cheese on a housemade roll. Unfortunately, by the time I made it over to that neck of the ranch, I couldn’t have eaten another bite without doing permanent damage to my liver and stomach.
Next year I’ll go in with a plan and hopefully spend the night in bed – not some meat-crazed rampage through the streets of my neighborhood.